1000 Deaths in My Name

Posted in Americana on December 2nd, 2005 by Дмитрий

I’ve always been iffy about the death penalty. On one hand, I don’t think that the state should kill people as official policy, outside the execution of war. On the other hand, I admit my own desire for retribution should violent crime visit my life…


The problem with the death penalty is that it’s permanent. “Beyond a shadow of a doubt” rings hollow if even a single person is falsely punished. It obviously does not work as a deterrent, since America has the highest murder rate of any country in the world (outside countries dealing with such things as domestic war and terrorism, such as Congo and Israel and Indonesia).


That only leaves retribution. But if we truly wanted retribution, then the death penalty is surely not serving its purpose. If someone killed my loved one, I would not want the state to kill them humanely after 10 years in prison. I would want to hunt them like an animal and kill them myself. In the case of serial killers and mass murderers, the only answer would be to torture them endlessly; to make them feel the pain of death over and over again. I doubt the current laws give much satisfaction to the families of any victims. In order to give such satisfaction, we’d have to give the state too much violent authority.


I am not willing to cede such rights and abilities to my government. I fear my government enough already as it is. This is why, despite my often harsh take on politics and moral affairs, the death penalty is something I cannot support, morally, personally or philosophically.


Most comprehensive studies of average US states (eg, excluding places like Texas that execute people before they’ve even committed the crime, etc) show about equal costs between life in prison with one or two appeals and the average 10 years on death row with dozens of appeals and special court action. In the case of more cautious and wishy-washy states like California and Washington, I’ve even seen arguments that the death penalty is more expensive for taxpayers. So the economic argument doesn’t really wash with me.


The death penalty in America is a political chess piece. Politicians use it as a litmus test to obtain popular support. The masses are always screaming for blood - they care not who bleeds. Look at Rome; look at Nazi Germany.

Richmond Walk and Xmas Shop

Posted in San Francisco, Travel on December 3rd, 2005 by Дмитрий

I just finished the most efficient packing job of my life, squeezing into one duffle bag the monstrous volumes of presents I procured at Target today. Hopefully they last well thru next weekend, when I unveil them in Fresno for my immediate family’s Xmas celebration whilst I’m in town.


I spent most of the day in the Outer Richmond. More on that later once I go thru all the pictures and notes I took. Jamie was kind enough to take me on a long walk from the Richmond to Golden Gate Park. I had a yummy clay pot lunch on Geary and pizza dinner at Gaspare’s. Then we headed down to San Bruno for shopping at the “new” Tanforan mall. It was nice.


Tomorrow I will try to do an early breakfast at Orphan Andy’s, move to my new hotel room, then head back to the Richmond for some more Dim Sum. Tomorrow’s my last free day in San Francisco this year, and possibly for a long time, so I’ll have to make the most of it.

Tee Hee…

Posted in Friends on December 4th, 2005 by Дмитрий

… I think I’m sitting accross from Pet at Brainwash right now… At least those look like the pants Spider was wearing at the GothSwap… I wonder if he’s checking out any friends’ journals right now…

The Economy of English

Posted in Economics on December 5th, 2005 by Дмитрий

One thing that amuses and delights me at work: three of my charges are recent immigrants. One is from Hong Kong, one is from the Phillipines, and one is from Indonesia. None of them speak English incredibly well, but they all have to use English as their primary language at work. Not because they’re being forced to by the government or their employer (our evening shift has 3 Filipinos, none of whom bother using English when they work together), but because it’s the only common language they share.


I’m always delighted when the trappings of capitalism creates commonalities and community like this. Sort of like when I directed the Austrian tourist I encountered on Market St last week to the nearest Starbucks, in very broken German. Commercial saturation and multinational corporate expansion and Anglo-Saxon imperialism brings us all closer together in so many ways…

I’m Not Doing It. Stop Asking.

Posted in About Me on December 7th, 2005 by Дмитрий

I get totally hot and bothered by chunky goth boys and punky skinheads with the sleeve tattoos and septum rings. I’ve experienced the boys with the toungue piercings on my special places. Latin boys with both ears pierced are able to cause expedited bonerism for me.


I’ve always thought it was one of the more cliquish/conformist subcultures… That doesn’t change the fact that I identify with it, but I think that *most* youth subcultures are more about strutting on a catwalk and out-fashioning your peers than about creating and enjoying your preferred aesthetic/art.


To paraphrase Lisa Simpson: Those big boots and black hair are all very rebellious, in a conformist sort of way…


But tattoos and piercings are not meant for my body. I’m not going to get any. Ever. No, I won’t be changing my mind. Yes, I know I’m a bad goth and will never be allowed into the super-exclusive goth events. Yes, I know that all the uber-goth royalty types will not find me very interesting. Yes, I know half the tattooed and pierced boys that turn my crank will not find the feeling mutual.


O well. Deal.

Gimme My Caffine-Free Diet Cherry Coke!

Posted in Uncategorized on December 8th, 2005 by Дмитрий

The same pricks that sued “Big Tobacco” for selling a product people wanted (as opposed to Little Tobacco, which was blameless), are now trying to get sodas banned from schools.


The argument: Sodas are bad for you. They’re too high in sugar. Fine. Then I would argue that there should be no buttery bread, pizza or cinnamon rolls available at the lunch line. Salad and cream of wheat only. The beverages: water and coffee. No cream or sugar allowed.


No, no, no. They don’t want to ban all soft drinks, just soda. Juice and milk are OK. Nevermind that most servings of the latter contain as much or more sugar than regular sodas. Not to mention the fact that diet sodas are calorie-free. My parents got me on diet soda as early as I remember. We never had regular soda in my house. And I’m still fat 30 years on…


Damn paternalists and their grabs for power. I need to go get my 500-calorie gingerbread latte with whip cream now.

[Incidentally, these days I avoid the formalthehyde-laced diet sodas as well. I understand soda’s special place in our social consciousness - Americans get the majority of their calories from the stuff these days, after all. A safe alternative to corn syrup and sugar would be a better place to start than wide-scale bans, in my opinion. Anyway, I don’t really care in the end, since I have no children, but I dislike paternalism all the same.]

Random Xmas Ponderings

Posted in Uncategorized on December 8th, 2005 by Дмитрий

I’ve been more social than usual in San Francisco lately. I think I’m just trying to hang out with all my friends here while I’m here and have the chance, since future visits are not yet nailed down, and could be eliminated should I find a new full-time job in Charlotte.


Kurt said something to the tune of “most people who say they’re atheists are just the same a Christians” - in the sense that many of the neo-humanist pagan types are really a flavor of Calvinists. They have dogma, spirituality, and even scripture. I think I’m a pretty well-qualified antitheist myself…


I think I would have had a much better time in San Francisco, and maybe even wanted to stay here longer, had I lived in a different neighborhood. I think David’s experience would have been the same, no matter how jaded he is by now about this place. Either way, I think I’m better able to appreciate and understand this city now that I don’t necessarily feel “trapped” by it.


My time with my current assignment has given me inspiration for a new direction in my career: rather than just being a corporate accountant, I want to be a small-business financial operations consultant. I want to be hired to study a business’s financial operations and books, and find inefficiencies to correct, personnel to fire and reshuffle, and new directions to take.


Along the same lines, I’ve decided that I am definitely going back to school next fall. My current plan is either a non-MBA Biz or Econ. [I ended up extending my contract with my SF client indefinitely, so school plans are on hold for now]


I want to do a Midwest road trip. Soon.


An Xmas I want someday: a long drive on Xmas eve through twinkling lighted chilly Xmas streets, back home and cuddle in bed, wake up Xmas morning to share presents and more cuddles, and maybe a Rankin-Bass or two next to the uber-piney smelling real Xmas tree, then make a breakfast of bone-in ham steaks and eggs. Then dress up in cozy new black Xmas clothes to head to the in-laws for Xmas dinner. On the way home we take another ride through other twinkly neighborhoods and the snow starts falling as we pull into the driveway. We don’t care, since there’s no work tomorrow.

We Are Borg. You Will Have a Freeway Rammed Through Your Neighborhood.

Posted in A Life More Boring on December 12th, 2005 by Дмитрий

No, I haven’t had anything interesting to say lately. It’s probably related to the fact that I haven’t talked much to David on the phone the past few days - the only think I feel like saying is “I miss you I love you I want to get the fuck home now”.

That’s about all that’s on my mind these days… Along with an immense and growing admiration for Robert Moses, similar to the admiration one has for the Borg

Contemplating Oligarchy

Posted in Evil on December 12th, 2005 by Дмитрий

I think that, philosophically, I have determined that I can only really stomach one type of political order: oligarchy.


By this, I mean that I think all other forms of political order are morally wrong. Oligarchy is acceptable because it allows no one to control anyone else without concrete, physical or intellectual force (eg, the biggest brain which can therefore invent the biggest guns). If you are confident enough in your mental powers, oligarchy is a pretty just system, since the smartest and ablest (or at least he most capable of brokering power deals) wins.


One thing I have lost all confidence and agreement with is democracy. By and large, the least able and most pathetic are the ones who end up ruling the roost. Just look at our President. He’s made it to power by appealing to the good-ol-boy hicks of the nation. They like him because of his denim jeans and unending smirks. They like him because he stumbles over every big word he tries to pronounce and doesn’t threaten them intellectually. He is out to grab power for the little guy - meaning the man of small mental capacity - the man of small ability. The man whose only survival skill is asking his pastor to smite his enemy or his neighbor to grab the rifles and white robes and jump into the SUV with him.


Democracy keeps great intellect in check - most men of great mental prowess believe so wholeheartedly in the superiority of democratic law that they refuse to dominate men of lesser ability. Democracy does not nurture talent, but rewards those who can pander to the lowest common denominator. All durable, swiftly growing economies in history demonstrated some form of oligarchy, where the rule of law was strong, but the laws were determined by the few rather than the many - the few being the most able. America at its peak during the industrial revolution was an oligarchy. China is an oligarchy.


I hate democracy. It means rule of the trash of society and I’m sick of the society it’s created in my own country. It is philosophically equal to every other populist philosophy which purports to desire to bring the “greatest good to the greatest many” - and personally, I think I’m better than that.


Posted in San Francisco, Travel on December 16th, 2005 by Дмитрий

At San Francisco’s airport (the airport whose concessions prices reflect their geography). Might be here a long time. Missing hubby. Trying to decide if a career as a Globetrotting Accounting Crack Whore (GACW™) will destroy me sooner than later…

The only thing getting me through the next 48 hours will be:

  • The promise of seeing my boy’s face and getting to cuddle with him for hours on end
  • The potential for a white Xmas (or at least a white Sunday Before Xmas)
  • A meal cooked by my own hands
  • Getting my clothes out of a closet

OMG! Not in SFO Anymore!

Posted in Travel on December 17th, 2005 by Дмитрий

I was squeezed into the early flight at the last minute, and spent 4.5 hours of pure hell making my way to Atlanta. The entire business class cabin was consumed by some total trailer trash family of inbreds, who from their childrens’ exclaimations had never flown before, and who spent the entire flight screaming in various sonic blasts, singing gross unintelligible hymns, and ramming into my arm every 5 minutes as one or more of them hogged the pisser (I was seated in the first row behind biz class).


The flight attendant made things worse by deciding it would be ever so precious to have a couple of said children (”STDs” hereafter) do the beverage service for her. It gets better: rather than taking the bev cart down the aisle, she let them “take orders” and shuttle the cups of flat soda to individual seats, increasing several dozenfold the number of bashings my sholder received as I tried to catch a couple additional minutes of sleep, seeing as I’ve had maybe an hour at most over the past 40 hours.


Thus the STDs never stopped racing up and down the cabin. I had half a mind to turn on my cell phone and call AirTran customer service and request we get an F-16 escort to the nearest airport due to safety hazards and potential terrorism, but this nice old black lady in the seat next to me kept chatting and making me feel guilty that I was getting so boiled by the STDs. I kept my mouth shut until be finally deplaned, where whilst passing the airhostess I spewed out something like “letting all the little STDs run up and down the aisle doing your job isn’t cute and precious, it’s tacky and unprofessional.”


Still deciding whether I want to make some sort of formal complaint to AirTran, but right now I’m more concerned with just getting home and being able to have a shower. Two hours til it’s all over…


Posted in Family on December 21st, 2005 by Дмитрий

I have the best sister in the world. Today’s her birthday. Merry Birthdaymas, Sis!

Economic Policy

Posted in Work on December 22nd, 2005 by Дмитрий

I just signed a 1-year contract with he SF company I’ve been working for. They met my terms after very little negotiation and this will make me far more money over the next year than I’d make in the Charlotte job market.


The traveling will suck, but it’s less than before - the contract specifies 50% travel. They get to decide what my travel schedule will be, but I have a feeling they’ll do a 2-weeks-from-home/ 2-weeks-in-house plan, so that I’m there for month-end work each month. That will surely be more pleasant than these 4-week trips. It also means that half the time I’ll be working from my home (whose office I must spend the next couple weeks upgrading). Hopefully that means David and I can spend more time together and everything will generally be more flexible.


The whole thing will be somewhat loss-making the first month, since I’m responsible for making my home office a satisfactory working environment for their specs. At least I’ll also get to use all the new gadgets and gizmos for personal stuff as well. All in all, I think I made the right move: I’ll be working from home and making an SF -sized salary whilst having a Charlotte- sized cost of living. Hopefully real estate is in my near future now…


Posted in Mac on December 23rd, 2005 by Дмитрий

I’ve decided my next computer will be an iMac. I need a new desktop more than a new laptop, and from everything I’ve seen, the iMac is a better value than the G5 tower. Now I just have to wait until after MacWorld to make sure they don’t do any massive changes or price drops.

Late Night Xmas Snack

Posted in Food on December 25th, 2005 by Дмитрий

“Pickles in a blanket”


  • Place two thin slices of Wal-Mart Deli Olive Loaf on a plate

  • Cover with one thin slice of Wal-Mart Deli Mozzerella cheese

  • Place a quartered pickle spear on edge of cheese-loaf stack

  • Roll pickle spear into cheese-loaf stack

  • Eat.

I know most people will find this totally vile. However, if there are 3 dead things I love more than anythiing else, they are minced and formed meat, cheese, and salt. This has it all.


More Xmas retrospective as the week goes on, provided I have a desk and computer handy; otherwise, wait. Or don’t.

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Talk About Spin Doctors…

Posted in Americana on December 26th, 2005 by Дмитрий

Anyone else noticing the White House press army is trying to tilt the Iraq news in the direction of “President Bush is bringing our boys home this year!”, as if it’s some totally voluntary innovation of the administration to reduce troop levels and begin leaving the place?


Not that popularity or political wrangling had anything to do with it…

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Savannah, Charleston…

Posted in Travel on December 28th, 2005 by Дмитрий

Going South. Be back next year…

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